Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ranchers sue Wilder Ranch over loose bison

Three Sioux County ranchers are suing the multimillionaire owner of a bison ranch that straddles North Dakota and South Dakota for damages incurred over years of bison getting out and trespassing on their lands. Bachmeier Farms, Nick Vollmuth and Gary Sandland filed separate lawsuits against Maurice Wilder and Wilder Corp. on Thursday. Mandan attorney Ben Pulkrabek is representing the three ranchers. Wilder is a Florida multimillionaire who owns Wilder Ranch, which stretches across 22,000 acres between Selfridge and McLaughlin, S.D. Problems with the ranch's bison running on land belonging to the Bachmeiers, Vollmuth, Sandland and others have been ongoing for several years. Thousands of bison were rounded up in February in South Dakota after authorities received reports of starving animals on the ranch. A smaller number of animals were reportedly running loose on the North Dakota side of the ranch around the same time. Hundreds of animals were sold at auction in Mobridge, S.D., in March. Wilder paid $57,000 to South Dakota for feed, equipment rental and sheriff's expenses after the impoundment ended. In April, Sioux County Sheriff Frank Landeis authorized a group of ranchers to roundup some of the Wilder Ranch bison that had been running loose on Selfridge-area ranches since November. The animals were taken to corrals at Bachmeier Farms, which is owned by Gerald and Leo Bachmeier. Sioux County State's Attorney John Gosbee said the bison remain at Bachmeier Farms, where they are being fed and cared for. Landeis demanded $45,900 for damages the bison caused to the property of Bachmeier, Vollmuth and Sandland and costs incurred during roundup...more

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